Return to Transcripts main page
Dem Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Outlines Policies; Biden Says He'll Decide 2020 Plans "Soon"; Arraignment Begins for Kevin Spacey. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired January 7, 2019 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: -- how he manufactures crises like immigrants seeking legal refuge on our borders, it's -- it's night and day.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): In response, the White House deputy press secretary told us, "Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez's sheer ignorance on the matter can't cover the fact that President Trump supported and passed historic criminal justice reform" and "has repeatedly condemned racism and bigotry in all forms."
One of the few things Ocasio-Cortez has in common with the president is an active and often combative presence on social media. When a conservative writer tweeted this photo of her, saying, "That jacket and coat don't look like a girl who struggles," she called him out for what she said was "misogyny."
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Would you be taking a creep shot of Steny Hoyer's behind and sharing it around? Why is there more comfort in doing that to me than there is in doing it to any other member of Congress?
COOPER: Eliminating the influence of corporate money in politics is another one of Ocasio-Cortez's signature issues. Most of her campaign funds came from small donations of $200 or less. She did accept some money from labor unions, but she refuses to take any contributions from corporate political action committees. She's angered some of her colleagues in the House by encouraging primary challenges of Democrats who accept corporate money or oppose progressive policies.
COOPER (on camera): These are politically dangerous tactics that you're using --
COOPER: You've heard that?
COOPER: Do you believe it? OCASIO-CORTEZ: It's absolutely risky. It requires risk to try something new, but also we know so much of what we've tried in the past hasn't worked, either.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It is really fascinating piece.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: It is. You get a real deep sense of where she's coming from.
HARLOW: Where were you at 29? Well you were covering wars?
SCIUTTO: I was not. A lot of people more accomplished than I was at 29.
HARLOW: Pretty remarkable. We'll keep a close eye on that.
Right now a courthouse in Massachusetts packed because in minutes, actor Kevin Spacey will appear in front of a judge. We're live outside of the courthouse.
[10:36:55] HARLOW: All right. You are looking at a courthouse in Nantucket, Massachusetts, because minutes from now actor Kevin Spacey will be in that courtroom to answer allegations that he groped an 18- year-old busboy.
SCIUTTO: He is expected to plead not guilty to an indecent assault and battery charge.
CNN's Jean Casarez is there live from Nantucket. Now, Jean, we understand that Kevin Spacey did not want to appear in court today but the judge ordered him to.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right. Because his defense side said that it could taint the jury pool because there is so much publicity. As you could see, maybe you can't, but I can, there is a lot of media here. The courtroom is packed. And the defense was saying that it could taint the jury pool. This is a small island. The jury would come from this island here. The judge said no, this is an arraignment. It's constitutionally based, you have to appear.
Now we are waiting for Kevin Spacey to get here. It is believed that he will momentarily come to this courthouse. He will go into the building right behind me. It will be his initial appearance before this district court judge.
Now the complaint is alleging that the accuser in all of this was 18 years old at that time. He was a busboy at a local restaurant a couple of blocks away. Everyone knew Kevin Spacey was coming. He was very excited. He got off work at midnight and changed his clothes, wanted to meet Spacey. He did. They spent about an hour or even a little more than that together. They exchanged phone numbers. They were at the tables. They went to the piano bar. They went outside. But alcohol is a very big factor here because Spacey asked him are you legal age to drink. He said, yes, I'm 23. He wasn't. He was 18. Kevin Spacey, according to the complaint, bought him three to five beers -- four to five beers, four to five shots of whiskey and that is when the accuser, according to the complaint, says that Kevin Spacey at a crowded piano bar began to touch him and it was not consented to, groping him. Spacey went to the bathroom. He was asking him to go to an after party and the accuser left.
Now at a probable cause hearing two weeks ago, we saw where the defense is going because Ellen Jackson, a former extremely respected district attorney out of Los Angeles is now representing Spacey and he asked the detective at the probable cause hearing the groping went on -- alleged groping for three minutes but yet the accuser didn't stop him, didn't move, didn't walk away, didn't do anything. The detective answered yes.
Now the serious issue, Poppy and Jim, is that Spacey faces five years in prison and would have to register as a sex offender. This is a felony. This is a serious case for both sides.
SCIUTTO: Enormous stakes here. Jean Casarez, thanks very much for following.
Will Joe Biden jump into the 2020 campaign ring? Sources say we're going to know the answer to that question soon.
[10:44:30] HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. The SUV right there in Nantucket, Massachusetts, is carrying the actor Kevin Spacey. He's arriving at a district court today for an arraignment on multiple charges against an 18-year-old busboy. The charges are battery and indecent assault. You remember Spacey did not want to attend this hearing. And by the way, there is a camera in the courtroom. So you'll see him in the courtroom momentarily. He didn't want to attend this hearing. A judge said that he had to be there and he is. Live pictures of Kevin Spacey walking in for the arraignment in Nantucket, Massachusetts. We'll bring you more of that in a moment.
[10:45:05] SCIUTTO: Back to politics now. Former Vice President Joseph Biden is set to decide in the coming months whether he will run in 2020. Close ally Biden telling CNN that he's indicated in recent weeks that he's leaning towards a run and that he knows he can't wait much longer to announce his decision.
HARLOW: Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren is wasting no time making her campaign trip to Iowa over the weekend. All right, hold that thought. Let's get back to Nantucket, Massachusetts, our colleague Jean Casarez outside of the courtroom. We just saw Kevin Spacey walk in. Just remind viewers what he's facing today at this arraignment.
CASAREZ: It is indecent assault and battery. It is a felony under the commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is up to five years in prison. Two and a half years in a state local jail and he would have to register as a sex offender. So this is a very serious offense right here. And this is the arraignment. Kevin Spacey did not want to come. That is the headline, he didn't want to come. His attorneys are really mounting a constitutional argument because they are saying that there is so much publicity that the jury pool on this very small island of Nantucket could be tainted and he could not then get a fair trial.
That didn't work because this is a constitutionally-based procedure .An arraignment, he will be read the charges. He may or may not enter a plea. It is up to him. And it's very short but extremely important for that aspect of knowing what you are being charged with. So it is the second floor in that courtroom. You could see the pictures. You see people just standing there. It is just standing room only in that courtroom. Everyone here on the island knows what is happening. Some people are not happy that the media is here of course. And also they are concerned that this young man who worked at this restaurant was able to drink so much alcohol underage. They don't like that publicity from this island either. Of course the issue at hand is touching unconsented sexual assault by actor Kevin Spacey.
HARLOW: OK. Jean, we're looking at the entranceway where Kevin Spacey will come in. Jean, what can you tell us about the defense, that it appears that his legal team is mounting and on what ground?
CASAREZ: well the position of the team and it's led by Allen Jackson who is a former assistant district attorney out of Los Angeles. It's very well renowned. He was the lead prosecutor in the Phil Spector criminal trial. He actually ran for attorney general for the state of California. He was not successful.
Now as a defense attorney but he's extremely high-profile and at the probable cause hearing several weeks ago he was present and he was able to ask the detective many questions, one being that the alleged groping according to the accuser lasted for about three minutes and this is where close to the piano bar He says Kevin Spacey began to touch him. That it was unconsented. He did not consent. It was groping. He froze. He didn't know what to do.
And so what Allen Jackson made a point of was he said this lasted for three minutes but he never said no. He walked away. He never stopped it. He never -- he allowed it and did he tell anyone that the groping had occurred? Because he talked to people about that Kevin Spacey was coming on to him but there is a lot of eyewitness - not eyewitness but accounts of outcry witness. He told people shortly thereafter that Kevin Spacey was coming on to him. But as far as groping, that didn't come out until later.
SCIUTTO: Right. Well, listen, we're going to keep on top of this. You see a number of reporters coming in the courtroom. Kevin Spacey himself has not appeared yet. We'll certainly follow that story.
Back to politics. Joining us now, MJ Lee, CNN national political correspondent. She was with Elizabeth Warren in Iowa over the weekend and Patti Solis Doyle, she's former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign manager.
Patty, if I begin with you first on Joe Biden decision coming and I've spoken to people in his camp and they seem fairly convinced that he is going to run here. It is going to be a big field. In your view is he the strongest candidate for the Democratic Party?
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think Joe Biden is very, very formidable obviously. He's a former vice president, former senator. Given the last two years of some dysfunction and chaos and incompetency experience is no longer going to be a dirty word in the 2020 presidential campaign. He certainly has strong name recognition, the ability to raise a lot of money very quickly. And those things are very important when you have a potential field of about you know currently 20-plus people.
[10:50:00] But is he the strongest? Look, I think we have a very strong field. We have former mayors, senators, former governors, and it is going to be a very rigorous energetic primary process and we'll see who will rise and who will wither. He is formidable but whether he's the best are still remains to be seen.
SCIUTTO: And not necessarily a bad thing to have a battle of the primaries before the general election.
HARLOW: So MJ, two points here. First, if he does run -- if Biden does run, will he run for one term? And will he say I'm only running for one term in part because of my age and also I'm just going to run to govern and not run again and also if he does run, what about the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wing, the far left wing of the party?
MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, I think that timing is going to be so important. Being with Elizabeth Warren in Iowa this weekend, you could really sense that there was this pent up energy that people who were not even decided on supporting Warren necessarily. They were not all there to be her supporters, but just to see what she was saying and excited that the 2020 election was actually starting in Iowa. There is that energy there and there is sort of this thirst to see the Democratic candidates, to see who their options are going to be to take on Donald Trump.
So when you are talking about Biden and the fact that he is currently undecided, that is potentially politically problematic for him if it drags on. Because I do think the people waiting for this contest to really begin in earnest, they want someone who they feel like is all- in. That there are no reservations and that is why I think the one- term possibility is important, if that does happen then does that become perceived as, well, maybe he's not all that certain and all that much in as much as at least compared to some of the other candidates --
HARLOW: I didn't think about it that way but I hear you.
SCIUTTO: Patti. You know we talk a lot about the battle within the Republican Party, you know the extreme right, the center. We certainly see that with the Trump phenomenon. But you have something of a battle on the Democratic Party, right? You know folks pulling to the left Cortez, Elizabeth Warren. Vice President Biden might probably see this as a more moderate candidate. Who is better in your view for the Democrats to win out in a campaign battle like that, in the primary battle rather? DOYLE: Well that remains to be seen. We're going to see this battle go on and you're right, you're absolutely right. We do have this progressive wing of the party that really provides a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the Democratic Party. We saw that in the midterm elections. But we also are facing -- and again, I hate to re-litigate 2016, but you know we lost three states that cost us the election -- Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And those are white working class voters that we lost. And there is a sense within the Democratic Party that we need to get those people back. So you have attention between the progressive wing and then the more moderate wing. And we're going to see how that plays out. Ideally, we're going to have a ticket that represents both wings of the party.
HARLOW: There you go.
SCIUTTO: Talk about it. Primary voters, it is going to be up to you.
HARLOW: There you go. Patti Solis Doyle and MJ Lee, thank you both very much.
We're waiting to see actor Kevin Spacey. His car has arrived at this courthouse in Nantucket, Massachusetts. He will soon walk through that door, being arraigned on battery and indecent assault charges against an 18-year-old busboy. Much more on the breaking news next.
[10:55:00] You're watching live pictures here. This is the actor Kevin Spacey there smiling as he entered a tiny courtroom in Nantucket where he faces a charge of indecent assault and battery relating to a groping incident alleged in July 2016 with a busboy that he met at a bar there. Let's listen in.
There is nothing going on yet. We'll await to hear the judge. Joining us now, Joey Jackson, lawyer and been in a lot of courtrooms. Joey, Kevin Spacey did not want to appear in court. The judge forced him to come in today to face these charges. Now what should we expect to happen today?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think what happens is this is an arraignment and at an arraignment what occurs is that he's apprised of the specific charges and thereafter he has an opportunity to enter a plea and we expect that to be not guilty. And the preceding will --
SCIUTTO: Let's listen.
HARLOW: Yes. Let's listen.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Hang on just a minute. Folks, I made a statement earlier and probably bear repeating. While you're all welcome to sit here and observe, no one should interfere or interrupt these proceedings. If you do, you risk being held in contempt which carries a fine or incarceration in some cases or certainly being removed from the courtroom. So by all means, sit and observe but do not interrupt these proceedings. And with respect to the press, we have the pool cameras up here and other members of press if you have your laptops or your telephones you can communicate with them and in the course of doing your job but you cannot take pictures or record. Anyone violates these requirements your phone can be taken from you and as I said likewise you can be held in contempt. So I don't anticipate anybody will act contrary to my instruction and I hope you won't. But I thank you in advance for your consideration in that regard. So madam clerk, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 1888-CR-0598, Kamala versus Kevin S. Fowler. This is an arraignment your honor.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Thank you. All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No record.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Mr. Fowler, this complaint charges that in the town of Nantucket on July 8th, 2016 did commit indecent assault and battery on person 14 or over.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Sir, if you are charged with another offense while this matter is open you could be held for 90 days without bail. Mr. D.A., request beyond the bail warning. Any?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beyond the bail warning requesting that Mr. Spacey be ordered to stay away and have no contact with the named victim and his family.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: All right. Certainly, the court will impose those conditions. Anything additional?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, judge.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: OK. All right. So no requests in terms of movement or staying within the United States --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As required by the court judge and as required by the probation department, our only request simply specifically is to stay away.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: OK. All right. Well those will be the conditions then. Sir, you'll be on probation. You'll sign those conditions. You'll be required to stay away and have no contact direct or indirect with the alleged victim. All right. I know there was a motion filed by defense. I had occasion to look at it. Mr. D.A., have you had occasion to look at it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've reviewed them. Yes, judge.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: OK. You want to be heard on the motion? Or --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Briefly, judge.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Sure. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Regarding the motions to preserve, we agree that anything that is currently in our custody and control we have to preserve. We will preserve and turn over in discovery.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As it relates to the motion to preserve itself, we're suggesting at this point that the scope that is being requested by counsel is overly broad. It's asking for July 7th and July 8th of 2016 but all the way up to the present. We suggest that based on what has been filed up to the present is overly broad. The affidavits and the motions suggest that Mr. Little and his girlfriend or another individual were texting contemporaneously on the 7th into the 8th and then it said by providing this other information we'll likely see that something happened or that he talked about it further. But there is no basis for that information within the motion to preserve. We would suggest that it is a phishing expedition at this point and that the motion should be narrowed at least to the 7th and 8th of July of 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: It is a fair point. Mr. Jackson or Miss Polaro (ph), I don't know who's going to respond but feel free.
ALEX JACKSON, SPACEY'S ATTORNEY: I'll respond. Alex Jackson on behalf of Mr. Spacey.
UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Sure.
JACKSON: Your honor, I don't believe at this point that we need to talk about the scope. That is something in terms of a subpoena. I other words, what I subpoena or what I serve on those individuals might require discussion or some litigation about the scope. All I'm asking at this point is that we preserve.